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Australia calls on EU to protect children online

Australia and its Five Country partners have called on the European Parliament to protect children around the world by addressing unintended consequences of the new European Electronic Communications Guide. The new Code, which came into effect in the European Union (EU) on 21 December 2020, introduced a broader definition of ‘electronic communications services’, compelling service providers in the EU to comply with the rules of the ‘ePrivacy Directive’, inadvertently making it easier for criminals to abuse children online. Under the new Code, it is now illegal for electronic service providers, including social media companies, operating in the EU to use the necessary tools to detect child sexual abuse material on online platforms. Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said protecting...

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Don't punish families for the 'crime' of being domestic-violence victims

It sounds almost too cruel to be real. That the state of Florida would punish families reeling from domestic violence by whisking their children away into foster care, setting onerous conditions for their return, even handing  custody off to the accused abusers. But  – as a team of USA Today reporters investigating Florida’s child welfare system discovered  – the system is too often “stacked against women who are abused,” treating them as if they were at fault for being beaten into unconsciousness or trapped by poverty in an abusive relationship. Their children are traumatized, torn away from their mothers when they most need their comfort. And in case after case, the USA Today reporters documented a system dead set against reunification  –...

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TELEVANGELIST PAT ROBERTSON CALLS FOR PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN

American televangelist Pat Robertson has once again proved himself to be a bigoted tyrant, this time claiming that non-religious children “should be beaten until they respect Christian belief,” during an interview for The 700 Club – a show that features news from a biblical perspective and holds interviews and discussions regarding religious practices on the Disney-owned channel ABC Family. During the episode which aired on January 5, Robertson responded to an email sent in by a viewer who had claimed that her grandson disrespects their Christian faith when they visit their daughter on Christmas and chose not to visit this past year. The viewer, aptly named Karen, wrote that “We declined going to our daughter’s house on Christmas this year because there is always an argument, hard feelings etc. One grandchild comes high...

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Investigators tasked with viewing the 'worst aspects of humanity'

In the middle of an ordinary looking office lies a large room with frosted glass. It houses the eSafety Commission's investigators who are tasked with viewing the worst aspects of humanity. Their work can involve anything from child sex abuse, to bestiality and sadism. Sometimes, investigators will watch children grow up through abusive material. Since the head of investigations Toby, who along with his team cannot give his last name for privacy reasons, joined the commission, he has seen child sexual abuse material evolve into a "global catastrophe". "The number of images that are produced and shared every year is on the rise," he said. "But we still have just under half the world's population to come online. And we...

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OPINION Little justice in treatment of alleged abuse victims

Craig McLachlan, Kyle Daniels, George Pell. Just a handful of men, in 2020, acquitted of sex offences. We must accept the courts' decisions, but these sorts of high-profile cases have a chilling effect on people coming forward to complain of already under-reported crimes. However, it is not just acquittals that dissuade complainants, but the often unnecessarily brutal cross-examination style of the typically older, male barristers who defend the accused. In Craig McLachlan's case, while McLachlan was acquitted, Magistrate Belinda Wallington admonished barrister Stuart Littlemore QC, saying she was "not assisted" by questions including the length of the average female labia majora and "outdated stereotypes of sexual assault victims". "Times have changed," Ms Wallington said. But, no, they haven't, Your Honour....

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